Russian passenger plane goes missing with 28 people on board

A Russian Antonov An-26 airplane with 28 people on board, including the head of a local government, went missing on Tuesday in the far east Kamchatka peninsula, the country’s emergencies ministry said. The plane with 22 passengers and six crew members, flying from the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the town of Palana, missed a scheduled communication, local emergency officials said. According to the local transport ministry, it also disappeared from radar.

The plane belonged to a company called Kamchatka Aviation Enterprise. An investigation has been launched, and a search mission is underway. Two helicopters and an airplane have been deployed to inspect the missing plane’s route, local officials said. The plane was coming in for a landing when contact was lost about 10 kilometers (six miles) away from Palana’s airport. The head of the local government in Palana, Olga Mokhireva, was aboard the flight, spokespeople of the Kamchatka government said. The plane has been in operation since 1982, Russian state news agency Tass reported. The company’s director, Alexei Khabarov, told the Interfax news agency that the plane was technically sound. Meteorologists noted there was a low cloud cover in the area, but visibility was within normal range. In the meantime, a criminal case has been initiated over violation of safety rules after the disappearance of the plane.